Saturday 20 January 2018

A night of mad men and bad politicians

Jon Hamm finally got his mitts on the big prize, while 'Veep' and 'Game of Thrones' were also worthy winners

Actor Jon Hamm, winner of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for
Actor Jon Hamm, winner of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for "Mad Men," holds up his Emmy Award. Photo: Kevork Djansezian.
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, poses in the Press Room with her award for Lead Actress in a Comdey Series during the 67th Emmy Awards
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

It was the night all America had waited for and the event didn't disappoint - flowing gowns, crazy hairstyles, chronic attention-seeking, demented and badly thought political grandstanding, and mad people saying ridiculous things.

But enough about last week's Republican debate, how did the Emmys go?

Second only to the Oscars and, perhaps, our very own IFTAs, the 67th Primetime Emmys (not to be confused with the Daytime Emmys, which deals with soap operas and Spanish telenovellas), certainly benefited from the proliferation of great television currently coming out of the States.

Host Andy Samberg made use of this glut of good programming in his opening song, which saw him retire to a viewing bunker for a year to catch up on all the shows that he'd missed, but the affable comedian's most notable remark was a rather predictable dig: "Donald Trump is standing for President, to the delight of uncles everywhere. I've got to say, sure, Donald Trump seems racist..." before moving on to the next topic.

The star of Brooklyn Nine Nine might have ruined any future chance of appearing on Celebrity Apprentice should Trump ever return as host, but at this stage so many celebrities have used The Donald as a punching bag, he is hardly unique on that score.

This was the year of Game Of Thrones, which picked up 12 awards, setting a new record and beating the old one held by The West Wing. Given the fact that The West Wing presented a Utopian, idealistic take on politics, it was fitting that it was usurped by the denizens of Westeros, where political intrigue tends to take a rather more bloody approach than anything seen in the White House.

Game of Thrones has become an unstoppable behemoth in the last few years, and it will be interesting to see if this show dates like The West Wing. In other words, will people look back on the events in Westeros in 2025 and wonder just what the fuss was all about?

Fans of sharp dialogue will be delighted for Veep for several reasons.

Not only did it did win four gongs, including well-deserved recognition for the brilliant Armando Iannucci, and Lead Actress for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but by stopping the increasingly terrible Modern Family from winning for a sixth straight time, it prevented that show from breaking Frasier's record of five wins for a sitcom.

Let's be honest, can anyone seriously claim that Modern Family comes even close to Frasier, which is arguably the greatest American sitcom of all time?

Veep has become one of the most essential political satires of recent years and while the likes of Peter Capaldi may be forgiven for raising a quizzical eyebrow at Iannucci's assertion that the cast of Veep is "the best I have ever worked with", there's no question that it was worth its four gongs.

Jon Hamm won a belated award for his role on Mad Men and his acceptance speech certainly reminded casting directors that he has a fine comic eye, although the snarkiest moment undoubtedly belonged to Louis CK, whose show Louie, lost out to Veep.

Eschewing the usual loser's reaction of smiling and simpering for the camera when someone else's name is picked out of the envelope, he merely grimaced and scowled and, hopefully, it provided him with more material for his stand up, which is even better than his TV show.

There was the usual tearful speech, this time from Viola Davis, star of How To Get Away With Murder, who said the right words about black actresses not getting enough roles.

Frankly, these awards ceremonies are normally full of phoney posturing, but the most dramatic moment came not in the Nokia theatre but on the red carpet outside.

Continuing her long tradition of irritating everyone she has ever interviewed, Giuliana Rancic was righteously burned by Sarah Paulson.

She plays a character with two heads on the criminally underrated American Horror Story and when Rancic asked if she expected two awards should she win, the actress replied through gritted teeth: "No. Sorry, sweetie, everybody has already asked me that."

Not for the first time, Rancic has managed to make herself one of the evening's losers.

Not bad going for someone who wasn't even nominated.

Irish Independent

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